Live Theater

Arts Eclectic
12:00 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

See 'Twin Infinity' at the Long Center

Austin's own homegrown science fiction epic The Intergalactic Nemesis has seen several incarnations over the years. It began life as a live show staged in a coffee shop, paying homage to '30s and '40s era radio serials. Later, audio recordings of the live show became actual radio serials (airing here on KUT in the late '90s).

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Arts Eclectic
9:41 am
Wed August 20, 2014

See a Chekhov Double Bill at the Rollins Studio Theater

Breaking String Theater was founded several years ago with the mission of bringing the works of Anton Chekhov to the stages of Austin. But depending on which Chekhov scholar you ask, the author wrote either only four or five full-length plays, and Breaking String has now staged all of them.

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Arts Eclectic
11:10 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Summer Stock Austin Celebrates Ten Years

For the past decade, the folks at Summer Stock Austin have brought high school and college age theater students together with working professionals to stage multiple musicals in a short period of time.

Every summer, the kids and adults at Summer Stock rehearse, build sets, do publicity and technical work, and then put on a show in just a matter of weeks. And they do that for three shows at once. It's a bit of whirlwind, but the result is that the students learn a lot about the theater world and audiences get to see a few low-priced live musicals.

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Arts Eclectic
3:23 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

See 'Bright Now Beyond' at Salvage Vanguard Theater

Starting July 31, Salvage Vanguard Theater will present the world premiere of the new musical Bright Now Beyond. It's an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1904 book The Marvelous Land of Oz (which was the second in the author's long-running series of Oz books).

Bright Now Beyond is set decades after the events of The Wizard of Oz, and features a few characters  from that story (the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and Glinda the Good all make appearences) along with many  new characters not seen in the classic film. Co-writer Daniel Alexander Jones sees all the characters — the familiar and the new — as being at a crossroads in their life; that's one of the things that drew him to the story.

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Arts Eclectic
6:07 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

See 'Oklahoma!' Free in Zilker Park

 

  The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! debuted on Broadway 71 years ago, and has remained a popular classic ever since. It was a huge hit in its original Broadway run, spawned an Oscar-winning movie version in 1955, and has been performed countless times in theaters worldwide.

In addition to being crowd-pleasing, though, it was also a ground-breaking production, an important work in the development of the 'book musical,' in which the songs and musical numbers progress the story. That's more or less taken for granted in the modern musical, but it wasn't often the case before Oklahoma! took the stage. 

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Arts Eclectic
2:33 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

'Industry Night' Is an Old-School Variety Show

Chris Gibson is, by his own admission, obsessed with Dean Martin. And he has a particular interest in Martin's work in television, where he hosted a popular variety show for nine years beginning in 1965. It's shows like The Dean Martin Show and the later, slightly more kid-friendly The Muppet Show that inspired the new live theater variety show Industry Night.

Hosted by Gibson and his fellow Rat Pack fans Cami Alys and Kenny Redding Jr., Industry Night is a throwback to the old school variety show format, where the hosts and the audience all have a couple of drinks and enjoy the show together. There's always sketch comedy and songs from Cami and Kenny, and each show features guest performers including singers, dancers, comics, improvisers, jugglers, and more.

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Arts Eclectic
9:26 am
Wed July 16, 2014

'All's Well That Ends Well' at Dougherty Arts Center

In the works of William Shakespeare, there are comedies, there are tragedies, there are histories, and then there are the problem plays. These are the plays that defy easy categorization; they tend to have complex themes and ambiguous tones.

All's Well That Ends Well is one such play. It's possibly Shakespeare's darkest comedy, dealing not just with love and mistaken identity like many of his comedic works, but also with war and gender issues. 

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Arts Eclectic
1:05 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

See 'Cosmicomics' at the Long Center

Cosmicomics is the latest aerial show from the folks at Sky Candy. Produced in collaboration with writer/director Rudy Ramirez, it's an acrobatic theater version of the much-loved short story collection of the same name by Italian author Italo Calvino.

The stories, first published in 1965, each begin with a scientific fact or theory and from there spin a fantastical yarn based upon it. In Calvino's world, humans used to jump to the moon to gather cheese and pasta is the reason for human existence.

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arts eclectic
2:23 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Relive the '80s with 'punkplay'

If you're looking for a play with live music, live animals, and a healthy dose of '80s nostalgia, punkplay might be the show for you. The coming-of-age tale is set in the American suburbia of thirty years ago, in the age the cold war, Ronald Reagan, and punk rock.

The play (by Gregory Moss) centers around two teenage boys, Mickey, a disaffected high school student, and Duck, an angry young runaway who befriends him. Their lives and relationship are changed by their exposure to a vinyl punk record.

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Arts Eclectic
10:01 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Enjoy 'Silence!' at Salvage Vanguard Theater

The Silence of the Lambs won a ton of awards after its 1991 theatrical release, including five Oscars. But there will still some who felt the story would have been better served if it included a little more singing and dancing. And those people are finally in luck, because they can now enjoy a version of the crime drama that doesn't skimp when it comes to lavish musical numbers.

Silence! The Musical is an unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs; it started life as an internet musical in 2003 and was so popular online that it was eventually expanded into a full length show that debuted Off Broadway in 2011. Like the original movie version of the story, Silence! was well-received by critics and won a handful of awards.

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Arts Eclectic
2:25 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Celebrate 'BettyFest' Every Thursday in June

Every Thursday this month, Coldtowne Theater will host BettyFest, which is billed as “a Night of Comedy by Comedians Who Happen to be Female.”  It's  a full night of comedy by folks with two X chromosomes, which is of course the chromosome where comedy is stored.

Each show will be hosted by a different stand-up comic and feature a rotating roster of opening improv acts along with headlining  improv troupe Patio Talk.

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Arts Eclectic
11:55 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Enjoy Free Shakespeare in the Park

For the past three decades, Austin Shakespeare has partnered with the city to present free Shakespeare in Zilker Park. This year, they're finally producing a free-in-the-park version of artistic director Ann Ciccolella's personal favorite Shakespearean play, As You Like It.

It's one of the bard's most joyous works, including hallmarks of Shakespearean comedy such as mistaken identity, cross-dressing, and the search for true love. As You Like It features some of Shakespeare's best-loved characters and most memorable scenes, and in true romantic comedy fashion, a happy ending that includes no fewer than four weddings.

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Arts Eclectic
9:40 am
Thu May 22, 2014

See 'Chicago' in a Lounge Setting

  M. Scott Tatum and Julianna E. Wright have been producing theater together since their high school days. Their partnership continued through college and eventually culminated in the formation of their production company, Half and Half Productions.

The latest show from Half and Half, co-directed by Scott and Julianna, is the classic musical Chicago. Chicago's been onstage in Austin a few times as part of Broadway Across America, and there have been a handful of school productions of it, but this is, perhaps surprisingly, the first professional, locally-produced version presented to Austin audiences.

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Arts Eclectic
10:14 am
Wed May 14, 2014

See Children's Theater from Pollyanna Theatre Company

Austin's Pollyanna Theatre Company specializes in theater for young audiences. And in addition to creating original theatrical works for children, they also believe in theater as a teaching tool.

To that end, they stage shows in cooperation with the Long Center, which are aimed at young children and their families, and also venture into local schools for performances and education.

Their latest play, Plus and Minus: The Vacation Adventure by Katherine Gee Perrone, revisits popular characters Addy Plus and Minus Takeaway and teaches lessons about both math and acceptance.

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Arts Eclectic
1:51 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Austin's Homeless Ask 'Am I Invisible?' in New Art Project

Am I Invisible? is an ongoing art project written and performed by members of Austin’s homeless population. It  explores their lives through video presentations, monologues and other performances. 

The project began last year when video artist Roni Chelben began facilitating video workshops at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. It led to a series of videos featuring members of Austin's homeless community, and eventually a live show based on the lives of its participants. 

Am I Invisible? incorporates all these elements, including the video segments, performances, and live monologues written by homeless members of our community, inspired by their lives.

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Arts Eclectic
3:06 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Forklift Danceworks' 'Play Ball!' Benefits Historic Downs Field

Forklift Danceworks is known for their large scale projects, which tend to feature real people performing dances that are based on their actual jobs. They've done performances with sanitation workers ("The Trash Project") and Austin Energy employees ("PowerUP"), among others. 

Their newest project is "Play Ball!," a baseball-inspired dance which will be performed by the players and coaches of the Huston-Tillotson Rams. The dance will be performed on (and also benefit) Austin's historic Downs Field, which during its decades-long history has been home to not just the Rams, but also several semi-pro teams and at least two Negro League baseball teams. Among the many legendary ballplayers to play on the field are Satchel Paige, Willie Wells, Willie Mays, and Buck O'Neil.

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Arts Eclectic
10:16 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Get Inspired at the Austin Mini Maker Faire

A few years ago, Austin was one of the homes of the annual Maker Faire, a two-day celebration of arts and crafts, creativity, and all kinds of do-it-yourself projects. The Maker Faire eventually stopped coming to Austin, but after a brief hiatus, the Austin Mini Maker Faire arrived to fill the void.

Aside from being only a one-day rather than two-day event, the Mini Maker Faire is "mini" in name only. It's still a huge event, with dozens of workshops, talks, hands-on activities, and performances taking place in the name of creativity and fun. The chief difference between the new mini fair and the old full-sized fair is that these days, most of the Makers actually hail from Austin or Central Texas locals instead of from the larger world.

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Arts Eclectic
11:23 am
Tue April 22, 2014

See 100 Comedians at the Moontower Festival

Now in its third year, the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival is quickly becoming one of the largest comedy festivals in America. For this year's fest, around 100 comedians will come together from Austin and around the world to perform dozens of shows, including sketch, improv, and lots of standup comedey.

Headliners include The Kids in The Hall, Hannibal Buress, Mike Birbiglia, Maria Bamford and more. They'll perform at the Paramount Theatre, while several smaller venues host shows nearby.

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Arts Eclectic
1:52 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Be a Part of the Latest Version of 'The Intergalactic Nemesis'

There have been many incarnations of The Intergalactic Nemesis over the years. The 1930s era science fiction story started life as a live radio serial staged in a coffee shop, then became an actual radio serial that ran right here on KUT many years ago. Then there was a revised version of the stage show, then a comic book series, and finally a live action graphic novel, which combines all the previous elements into a large-scale show that has toured the world.

But it’s never been captured for the screen until now. This Saturday at the old Austin City Limits Studio, The Intergalactic Nemesis will tape its newest incarnation before a live audience. The show will go back to its radio serial roots in a way, as it becomes a series of short web videos produced by KLRU and PBS. It'll also be available as a TV broadcast and a DVD.

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Arts Eclectic
10:35 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Soubrette Productions Presents 'Assassins'

For only their second outing, young theater company Soubrette Productions is taking on a challenging show: Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins, a musical that examines the motivations behind the actions of attempted and successful assassins of American presidents. It's long been a controversial work, as it examines the history of and parallels between the men and women who were convinced that their violent actions were justified or even necessary.

The subject matter isn't the only difficult aspect of Assassins. It's also a pretty elaborate production, with a large principal cast and detailed costuming, sets, and props. All of this makes the production a challenge for the folks of Soubrette, but a challenge they were eager to undertake.

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